Tag: world news

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High

By far the most tragic and most terrifying school shooting since Sandy Hook, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Dchool on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, has claimed 17 lives, threatened 14 more, and affected hundreds in the worst way possible. The shooting strikes scarily close to home; it occurred in Broward County, Florida, less than 200 miles from Lake Howell.
The shooter has been identified as Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who is a former student of the high school. He entered the school around 2 in the afternoon, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a bulletproof vest, and a backpack full of ammunition. Shortly after he opened fire in the classrooms. He then dropped his gun and vest and ran out with the rest of the fleeing students, making his way to a nearby Walmart, where he purchased a drink from the Subway inside before continuing on to a McDonald’s. According to TIME, it was at the McDonald’s that Cruz was found, and taken into police custody without further incident. He has been arrested under 17 charges of premeditated murder.
Students have posted many photos and videos across social media of the shooting. There are text messages from students saying goodbye to their parents, footage of SWAT teams clearing out the classrooms, and photos of laptops with bullet holes through them and blood on the floors. 17 people were killed in total, 12 within the school and others outside the building, as well as two who died in hospitals. Sixteen others are being treated at local hospitals, 5 in critical condition but the rest expected to recover.
The shooting comes as a tragedy, but not necessarily a shock. Over the past few years, there have been more than 20 calls for sercice about both Cruz and his brother to be closely investigated. Additionally, a YouTube comment about “becoming a professional school shooter” has been linked to an account whose name is “nikolas cruz.” Many students and teachers have voiced their own fears about Cruz being capable of violence.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is the 6th school shooting to result in injuries since the start of 2018. In total, there have been 17 incidents of firearms in schools this year. It is also the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, which took 26 lives in total.

 

Written By: Rachel Smith

Image courtesy of Saul Martinez for The New York Times

Iran Protests

Social unrest in Iran has led to the largest public movement since 2009. Protests began the night of January 4th, and have amassed in response to the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Iranian economy is sputtering, its government is filled to the brim with corruption, and supplies such as food and gasoline are running low. Many Iranian citizens expected life to get better after 2015, when Iran made a deal with the P5+1 (the US, the UK, Russia, China, and France- the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council). The deal involved the shutdown of Iran’s nuclear program and was supposed to lift severe sanctions on the country. However, many promised changes never came to fruition, and new sanctions have since been made.

Trump Iran

 

Despite the lack of economic development that was expected to come out of the deal, it is not the only cause for the protests. Iran has faced intense economic and political strife for years; citizens view the government as highly corrupt, and clamor for the end of inequality and the beginning of social justice for minorities such as women. Many of the protesters are young Iranians focused less on politics and more on social changes, such as unemployment and inequality.

According to CNN News, the protests in Iran have resulted in 21 deaths and 450 arrests– and the people have been in the streets for barely a week. The last major protest in Iran, the Green Movement in 2009, lasted for months. Remnants of the Green Movement still linger for many Iranians who hope for social, political, and economic change. Yet over 3,000 protesters have been detained, the Iranian government is filtering social media to prevent Iranians from gathering information on other parts of the world, and the situation is looking bleak despite support from many countries, like the US. The struggle for social justice in Iran will continue to be fought by these brave protesters.

By Rachel Smith

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/30/world/iran-protests-issues/index.html
https://www.forbes.com/sites/heshmatalavi/2018/01/11/iran-protests-what-we-are-learning/#51e946846f09

Slavery in Libya

This week, CNN released a video containing footage of sub-Saharan migrants being sold at auction in Libya. Libya is a transit country for tens of thousands of migrants who are fleeing their home countries due to economic or political conflict. Most try to make their way to Europe in search of better opportunities, selling everything they own to finance the journey across the Mediterranean. Recently, however, the Libyan coast guard has been more strictly reinforcing their boundaries. This means that fewer ships are making it out to sea. As a result, smugglers are finding themselves with vast amounts of human lives and nowhere to send them. That has led to smugglers becoming auctioneers, and the refugees their slaves.

The slave trade in Libya is not new. In many seemingly ordinary towns throughout the country, migrants wait in solemn lines to be sold into their fates. Most are being auctioned off as farm workers, going for the US equivalent of around $400. While waiting to be deported, many migrants are kept in detention centers. One interview from CNN recounts the horrors that some migrants face. One detained migrant named Victory explained that he had fled his home state of Edo, in Nigeria, to flee “rampant corruption” at home. He spent all of his life savings trying to reach Europe. Victory made it to Libya, and was held there like many other migrants; sadly, they are held in abject living conditions, deprived of food and abused by their captors. Even after being sold as a day laborer multiple times, he could not raise the funds to free himself from debt. This is only one story out of hundreds of migrants and refugees that have been held in the Libyan slave trade.

According to the Alpha Conde, the chairman of the African Union, they will “use all of the tools at their disposal” to look into the situation. The evidence filmed by CNN has been handed over to Libyan authorities. CNN reports that, as of Friday, December 1, Libya has launched an investigation into the slave trade.

By Rachel Smith

Sources: BBC, CNN

Photo provided by AFP/Getty Images

Las Vegas Massacre

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On the night of Sunday, October 1st, Las Vegas fell victim to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. A man since identified as Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concert attendees at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing at least 59 people and injuring at least 527 others. People suffered from gunshot wounds and stampede injuries as 22,000 attempted to flee from the shooter.

Stephen Paddock was a 64-year-old man with no criminal record besides a routine citation from several years ago. According to his family, Paddock was “not a normal guy,” but had indicated nothing about any plans or motives for the shooting. Eric Paddock, Stephen’s brother, said he is “horrified” and “dumbfounded” by what he did. So far, Paddock has not been connected with any terrorist groups, although ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to CBS news. Police believe Paddock acted alone, and have not yet determined his motive.

Paddock was found dead in his hotel room, believed by Las Vegas police to have killed himself before they could reach him. Also in his hotel room were 23 firearms, including a handgun and multiple rifles. In a report from CNN news, authorities announced that thousands of rounds of ammunition and ammonium nitrate, a material used to make explosives, in his car and at his home in Mesquite, Nevada, about 75 miles away from Las Vegas.

Thankfully, many citizens are offering all their help to aid Las Vegas in recovering from this tragedy. Hundreds of Nevadans have lined up to donate blood to U.S. blood banks for those injured in the shooting, waiting in lines as long as 6 hours–and officials in Las Vegas say that no more blood is needed right now. Steve Sisolak, Chair of the Clark County Commission, has set up a GoFundMe page for the families of the victims. As of Monday, October 9th, the page has collected over $10 million in donations for the victims and families affected by the shooting and is still going strong.

By: Rachel Smith

Photo credit to David Becker

 

North Korean Missile Crisis

In the midst of Trump’s “fire and fury” tweets and ominous imagery of nukes hanging overhead, it can be easy to forget the facts. Over the past few months, North Korea has been launching missile tests, experimenting with combining a long-range missile and a nuclear warhead. On the Fourth of July, North Korea launched a missile called an intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM]—a missile with the power to cross the Pacific Ocean and land in Alaska. Earlier this week, North Korea announced that they had successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead, which means that they can be placed inside missiles such as an ICBM. They have officially stated that they have missiles which are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. While most experts believe that it will still be a year or two before North Korea can produce highly accurate long-range missiles, the threat is now much closer than it had been before.

In response to this situation, Donald Trump has asked for China to “put a heavy move” on North Korea and cut off any economic ties between the countries. Additionally, the United States and South Korea both launched several precision missiles into the South Korean Sea as a show of force against North Korea. President Trump has been very clear that any threats to the United States will not be tolerated. Following reports that North Korea had the potential to put a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States, he tweeted that any threat would be met with “fire and fury unlike any the world has seen before.” After this warning, North Korea revealed that they had plans to launch four missiles at Guam, a tiny US territory in the Pacific Ocean that is home to 7,000 US military personnel. While a diplomatic solution is still the goal, and economic sanctions and diplomacy will be attempted before moving into options regarding military force. As of Tuesday, August 15th, Kim Jong Un has announced that the proposal for launching missiles at Guam has been put on hold. It appears that both the United States and North Korea have backed off—for now. Beginning August 21, the US and South Korea have been participating in joint military drills, although they are insisted to be purely defensive. But for the time being, tensions have lowered and we wait in uneasy silence for someone to make the next move.

By: Rachel Smith

How the Trump Stole Election Day

Whether it is the rejoicing Trump supporters, the lamenting Clinton supporters, or the flabbergasted rest of the world, absolutely no one perceived this outcome to the 2016 presidential election cycle. In one of the greatest—if not, the greatest—political upsets of modern times. A businessman entertainer, turned political rookie, precluded the ostensibly inevitable tenure of Hillary Clinton as Commander-in-Chief  after conducting the most disastrous campaign in American political history (that is, a fatally disastrous campaign for anybody besides Donald Trump). President-elect Donald Trump defied all expectations, all predictions, when he conquered the Electoral College. Numerous sources, including In-Flight News’ own article regarding the matter, placed a Clinton victory at a high certainty. The challenges that Trump faced seemed too insurmountable, and Clinton’s lead seemed too unreachable for him to overcome. Nonetheless, he did. And, as far as she is concerned anyway, Donald Trump stole the election right out from under Clinton. So, how did he do it?

In order to understand Trump’s victory at the Electoral College (Clinton has won the popular vote by about 2 million votes), one must analyze the demographics of the election. Surprises and clarity are found there. First and foremost, this election seemed to be dictated by ethnic race far more heavily than previous elections. In reality, however, the racial margins were quite similar to those of previous 21st century presidential races. According to Pew Research Center, Trump continued the Republican trend of achieving the white vote—he had a 21 percentage point lead over Clinton. Likewise, Clinton retained the minority votes with an 80 point margin among African Americans, and a 36 point margin among Hispanic voters. Clinton, despite the impressive margins, clearly lost votes among these ethnic groups.

Though it is not particularly shocking, the gender gap in voter choice this election surely provided Donald Trump with additional votes that Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, could not secure. By a margin of 12 points, women supported Clinton over Trump; by a margin of 12 points, men supported Trump over Hillary. And, as per usual, young voters failed to make a significant mark on this year’s election due to their perpetuation of low turnout. They, just as in 2012 (but by a smaller amount; six percentage points more young voters aided President Obama), supported the Democratic Party by a double-digit margin, 18 percent.

The single most striking alteration to demographic trends during election cycles this year is education level. In 2012, Obama was victorious among both voters with a college degree (two point margin) and voters without a college degree (four point margin). This year, however, college educated voters favored Clinton with a 9 percent margin while voters without a college degree favored Trump by an 8 percent margin. So, despite both candidates achieving a greater margin than the party’s previous nominees did, Trump benefited. Clinton gained about seven more points than Obama did in the college educated cohort, but Trump gained 12 more points than Romney did in the non- college education cohort. Furthermore, this disparity grows when only white voters are taken into account. Trump won among white college educated voters by a margin of four points (a ten point decrease from Romney’s margin of victory).

More important, though, is his victory in the category of non-collegiate graduates of the white race. His margin of victory over Clinton was a whopping 39 percent, a 14 percent increase from Romney’s margin four years ago. It is this demographic that opened the door of the White House to Donald Trump. Blue-collar workers, a group of voters that were treated with negligence by Clinton and catered to by Trump, dominate this category. These workers just so happen to live in the former industrial sector of America, now known as the Rust Belt, and this sector just so happens to include the Midwest. It was the key region of the Midwest, particularly the states surrounding the Great Lakes that leaned Democratic in previous elections (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio), that ultimately consolidated the Trump victory.  The enormous victory that Trump had among white blue-collar workers—who typically conglomerate in Midwestern states—and non-college educated voters (who tend to be blue-collar workers) gave him the edge in the three Rust Belt states, thus securing the election in favor of Donald Trump.

In a way, it is the greatest riches-to-more-riches story in history. And he lived it on the backs of the people he would be employing if he never ran for president—given that he wouldn’t have hired undocumented workers like he had done in the past, of course.

By Ryan Hill

Who Will Win the White House?

The conclusion of what will go down as the most absurd election in America is fewer than two weeks away. The year and a half journey leading up to election will end in a week and a half. Some of the students at Lake Howell will have the ability to influence this election, but all will be profoundly affected by it. Silverhawks will enter college, the bridge between basic education and the application of education, under the tenure of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Few of are joyed by that fact, but this article will not be discussing the implications of a candidate’s residency in the White House. This article will be determining which of the candidates will call the White House their home come January.

At this point in the election cycle, all three debates have occurred. Therefore, time most suitable to predict the outcome of the election is now. Presidential forecasts all have one thing in common: Hillary Clinton wins. The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and BBC all have Clinton above Trump in recent national polls. In eight out of the nine most recent polls observed by RealClearPolitics, Clinton leads Trump nationally. The margin of her lead varies from nine points over Trump, to as little as a single point, but she still leads. Fivethirtyeight.com projects Clinton’s currrent chance of winning at 84.5 percent based on the breakdown of state polling. What is most remarkable about this data is that exactly one month ago, when the first presidential debate took place, Clinton had an estimated 54.8 percent chance of winning. After the first debate, and through the second, her chance of winning skyrocketed. This percentage is expected to drop as Election Day approaches, but the message is clear; to the American people, Hillary Clinton won the first debate. She employed a  greater sense of restraint and composure than Trump. Regardless of one’s position on the policies, most can admit Trump has failed to eloquently audition for the presidency. The momentum carried through to the second debate because, once again, Clinton outperformed her opponent (not to mention the video leak depicting a very lewd and very unpresidential Trump). The third debate has not changed either of their standings in the long run, and only the impending arrival of Election Day can coerce a fluctuation in the polls.

A far more interesting, and more reliable, method of discerning who will win this game of votes is by taking into account the Electoral College. 538 electoral votes are up for grabs, and 270 are needed for the victory. Following the pattern set by the national polls, the projections of these votes declare Clinton as the winner. This is expected, considering she has taken a slight lead in the two most important battleground states: Florida and Ohio. But what is truly fascinating about these projections is the way she wins. Based on the most up-to-date polling data per state, both 270towin.com and RealClearPolitics discover that even if she lost every battleground state—including Florida and Ohio—Clinton would still gain enough electoral votes to clench the presidency. She would win by two electoral votes even if Trump could win every battleground state, something that is nearly impossible. Even more incredible is the forecast by fivethirtyeight should states swing to the candidate that they are currently leaning towards; Clinton would win with three hundred and thirty two electoral votes—the exact same number of votes President Obama received. For the first time ever, it seems that the White House will be headed by a matriarch.

By Ryan Hill